The Protestant Reformation promoted by Luther in the 16th century established a break with the Roman and Catholic Church. Among the various currents or doctrines that emerged from Protestantism, the Anabaptist movement was a division of Lutheranism itself. Anabaptism
It appeared in Switzerland in the 17th century and soon spread to some Central European countries. Later, it expanded to the southern United States and Latin America.
After the Reformation, some theologians understood that the path begun by Lutheranism was not sufficiently renovating. Thus, those movements that were neither Catholic nor Protestant were labeled under one name: a radical reform.
Basically, there was a reform within the Reformation. These “radicals” were divided into three subgroups: Anabaptists, Spiritualists and Evangelical Rationalists. Anabaptism
Among the Calvinists who settled in Switzerland, a group of theologians arose who proposed the baptism of adults
Followers of this new current were known as Anabaptists or rebaptizers, as they advocated voluntary adult baptism and opposed infant baptism, as they considered that newborns did not have the true faith.
Initially they were persecuted and martyred by both Calvinists and Catholics. This circumstance forced them to remain hidden in small rural communities.
The Anabaptist leader Menno Simons managed to regroup them and for this reason his followers were known as Mennonites . These communities were forced to immigrate to other territories, such as Russia, the United States and some agricultural regions in Latin America. Anabaptism
Main beliefs and values
In addition to his defense of adulthood baptism, his followers understand that the precepts included in the Bible should be the only valid references for an authentic Christian life. They believe they are called to renew the Christian church on the New Testament model and consider the church to be a brotherhood that should be separate from the state .
They have an evangelizing and missionary spirit, defend their autonomy against the power of the state and are supporters of social equality and non- violence .
Mennonites and Hutterites
Although there are several Anabaptist currents, among the best known are the Mennonites and the Hutterites. Currently, the Mennonites, also known as the Amish, live in communities in different territories in North America and Latin America, engage in agricultural and livestock activities and reject the use of technology in their daily lives. Anabaptism
Likewise, they dress in very humble clothes and the children receive a basic education based on biblical teachings. They have their own codes of conduct and do not accept the laws of the country where they reside.
When the Amish turn 17, they begin a pivotal period in their lives: the rumspringa. It consists of temporarily leaving the community to reflect on its continuity in the collective or its separation. Anabaptism
The Hutterites live in closed communities, share their goods and practice a radical pacifism that prevents them from joining the army. This chain was created in Austria in the 16th century and its founder was Jakob Hutter. Just as the rest of the Anabaptist communities were persecuted for their radical thoughts.